Monday, 21 January 2013

Maria Sharapova vs Ekaterina Makarova (Australian Open Quarter-Final Preview)

Maria Sharapova and Ekaterina Makarova meet in the quarter-finals of Australian Open for the 2nd year in a row. Last year Sharapova won in straight sets. In-fact Sharapova has won all the meetings with Makarova (4-0). For a preview of Radwanska/Li match, please go here

Makrova has the game and the fire-power to dispose off the top players, as she showed by handing Serena Williams an early exit last year, and moving past Marion Bartoli and Angelique Kerber this year, however, Sharapova has been in blistering form so far and has lost only 5 games so far in making it to the quarter-finals.

Let us have a look at the performance of the 2 players so far in the tournament.

The stats have been averaged for the 4 matches played by the players so far
Description     Sharapova          Makarova     
Aces          4          4
Double Faults          3          3
1st Serve %age       58%       58%
1st serve points won       78%       63%
2nd serve points won             57%       47%
Net points won       59%       70%
Break points won       59%       64%
1st serve return won       59%       41%
2nd serve return won       70%       66%
Winners       19       24
Unforced Errors       15      19

Numbers clearly indicate that Sharpaova is the heavy favourite going into the match. Let us have a look at some of the vital compenents of the game, which might be the deciding factors. 

Serve: Sharapova has lost her serve just once in the tournament so far, while Makarova has been broken 16 times so far. I guess, this speaks it all. Sharapova's only loss of serve came at the hands of Venus Williams in her 3rd round match. Watch out for the difference in the first and 2nd serve points won by each player.

Net Points won : Makarova's only chance to trouble Sharapova will be by trying to bring her as much to net as possible, as the numbers favour Makarova in net play.

Return of Serve: Sharapova has won a whopping 59% of the points when returning the first serve and 70% while returning the 2nd serve of her opponents, Makarova is behind Sharapova in winning points while returning the second serve of her opponents, but Sharapova has won 57% points on average behind her 2nd serve which might make life difficult for Makarova and she may find difficult winning points while returning the second serve of Sharapova.

Makarova will be trying to make it to her first ever Grand Slam semi-final, while Sharapova will be eyeing to make it to her 6th Australian Open semi-final. Makarova is 0-1 in Australian Open quarter-finals while Sharapova is 5-0.

Unless, Sharapova has a very off day and Makarova has a very good day, I can't see Makarova pulling it off over Sharapova.

Pick: Sharapova in 2 sets.

What do you think? Do you see Makarova reeling off more than 3 games in a set?

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